Juvenile Delinquency and Family Structure: Implications for Marriage and Relationship Education. Research Brief.

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Author (Individual)
Alfrey, Curt.
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National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.
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This brief shares research findings on juvenile delinquency, explores the association between juvenile delinquency and family structure, and discusses implications for marriage education programs. Statistics are reported from a 20-year longitudinal study that indicate boys who grew up without their biological father in the home were three times more likely to commit a crime that led to incarceration than children from intact families. Additional findings are discussed that found children of divorced parents are up to six times more likely to be delinquent than children from intact families, boys raised without their fathers were more than twice as likely to end up in jail as those raised with their fathers, 70% of incarcerated adults come from single-parent homes, and both the individual risk and overall rates of crime were reduced when parents were married. The link between marital quality and juvenile crime is explored, as well as the impact of parental supervision and juvenile delinquency. The brief concludes that the potential for future juvenile delinquency among youths can be significantly diminished by providing parents and juveniles with skills for relationship-strengthening, personal growth and family enhancement. 30 references.

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